Adrenal Fatigue and the Endocrine System
So many people are talking about adrenal exhaustion, and are correct when they say their adrenals are fried. When your adrenals are exhausted, it will affect your sleep, increase anxiety and dramatically lower energy.
But here is something that very commonly gets overlooked: adrenal issues are an upstream problem, meaning that there are toxic elements or other challenges causing adrenal dysfunction. The many things we do to support the adrenals and they may make us feel a bit better in the moment, but it doesn’t make us well in the long run.
The Control Tower: Hypothalamus and Pituitary
When adrenals are exhausted and over-worked, one may be able to narrow down the real health problems to the pituitary and hypothalamus (both located in the brain). These important endocrine glands send signals to the thyroid and adrenals. Essentially, communication continually goes back and forth between all the glands in the endocrine system.
The hypothalamus is the receiving part of the control tower and then it sends information to the pituitary, which sends out signals to our thyroid and adrenals. When we try to figure out what’s wrong , it may be that our control tower (the hypothalamus and pituitary) aren’t responding normally.
Use a Flashlight
How do you know if it’s your adrenals that need attention? In order to identify possible adrenal stress, take a flashlight, go to a mirror and shine a flashlight into your pupil indirectly. When the adrenals are functioning normally, the pupil should get smaller and then hold. But if your pupil starts pulsating, it’s a sign that the adrenals may be stressed.
Orthostatic Blood Pressure
Another simple way of identifying adrenal stress is to take your orthostatic blood pressure. To begin, lie down on the bed and relax for 5 minutes. Then, using a battery operated blood pressure monitor, take your blood pressure when lying flat and remember the numbers. Then stand up as fast as possible (be careful when standing) and immediately take it again. This is how you figure out how much stress your adrenals are enduring. Let’s say your original (lying down) reading is 120/80. When you stand up right away, the top number should normally jump up by about 10 points. If it raises more than 15 points, it means that your adrenals are in “hyper” mode. But if the top number drops rather than goes up, then your adrenals are in “hypo” or tired mode.
At times, the top number could raise as much as 50 points so we know the adrenals are in hyper mode; and the opposite is true, if you get those massive drops in the top number, it then may be that the adrenals are wiped out. Either way, if they are too high or too low, you need to investigate the endocrine system and resolve the issues.
Vitamin C and Our Adrenal Glands
Did you know 80% of the body’s Vitamin C is stored in the adrenals? So when our adrenals are taxed, Vitamin C is low. If you take 3,000-5,000 mg of Vitamin C and get diarrhea that may be a sign that your levels of Vitamin C that’s stored in the adrenals is normal.
However, if you take very high doses of Vitamin C and never reach the diarrhea saturation point, this is a sign of adrenal fatigue. Some patients have taken as much as 100 grams of Vitamin C and never reached the diarrhea saturation point. This is a classic sign of adrenal fatigue.
Lots of people with adrenal fatigue and/or exhaustion are constipated. One should have at least 1-3 bowel movements a day. If you are having only 1 BM every few days, or worse, if you only have a few BMs in a week, you are considered to be severely constipated. Vitamin C is a great way to facilitate bowel movements. So, even though their body may be lacking enough stored Vitamin C, if you’re having a harder time passing stools, Vitamin C may help to move the bowels and solve the problem.
Seriphos and the Adrenal Glands
There is a supplement called Seriphos (Phosphatidyl Serine) that helps to down-regulate adrenal over-stimulation. When having sleeping issues, Seriphos (Phosphatidyl Serine) may improve sleep better than melatonin because it controls adrenalin and cortisol reactions.
When one wakes up, “BOOM,” at 2am, it is caused by an inappropriate rise in cortisol. No one should be waking up between 2-4am, wide-awake and wired. What can cause that sudden rise? It could be mercury poisoning. (Mercury is considered to be the “insomnia toxin”). Lead, on the other hand, will lend itself to sleeping too much (9-10 hours) without feeling rested.
Seriphos will control that over-stimulation of cortisol because it rests the adrenals. Seriphos can bring tremendous relief and it has proven very successful for many people where cortisol is out of control.
Why are the Adrenals Over-Stimulated?
What is causing all this adrenal fatigue? For one thing, kids and adults are drinking energy drinks and sodas to keep their energy going. Unfortunately, it stresses their adrenals to the extreme. In excess, caffeine will hammer the adrenals, and sugar will not only cause adrenal stress but will shoot up blood sugar levels. This creates even greater problems because the adrenals are part of the adaptation process to control blood sugar. So the body becomes doubly compromised.
Accumulation of Stressors
Ultimately, it is always the accumulation of stressors that causes the body to crash. Whether it is chemical, physical or emotional stress, the body’s physiological reaction is the same, and the adrenals are part of that reaction.
Why All the Toxins?
When heavy metals accumulate in the system, it can come from environmental sources, such as amalgam fillings or even from your mother. In fact, some research has shown that the amount of heavy metals lodged in your brain is proportional to the amount of amalgam fillings in your mom’s mouth when she was pregnant. These metals will not only get deposited in joints, tissues and bones, but they lodge in the hypothalamus and pituitary in the brain.
In addition, if your mom had high lead levels during the time she was pregnant, as the body naturally loses bone, it also releases stored lead. Unfortunately, the excreted lead goes right into the placenta and into the fetus. Years later when we realize that our lead levels are sky high know that it may have came from your mother.
The Perfect Storm
If those above-mentioned toxins are not enough, we may live in moldy homes, and, at some point, our toxic bucket starts to fill up. Then we add an emotional trauma and physical trauma, like a car accident (more physical stress) plus the misalignment of the spine. These can cause stress on the nervous system. And suddenly, our toxic bucket overflows and we get sick. When your body is not well, there is no way it can adapt to so much toxicity and change.
You now get the picture. When you have 3 fronts coming together, we call it the “Perfect Storm”: chemical, emotional and physical stress. This is an absolute disaster for your endocrine system (hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid and adrenals).
What About the Thyroid?
The adrenals don’t function alone; you must look at the thyroid. Symptoms like lower metabolism, hair loss, skin issues, brittle nails, constipation, dry skin, and lower basil metabolic temperature all can indicate that the thyroid is not functioning properly.
When the body temperature runs low, it’s because the body can’t handle temperature dysregulation. The body is cold when it is hot outside and hot when the temperature is normal. And these issues can also correlate with hormonal issues: imbalances of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone.
But here is the trap. If you only focus on the thyroid or only on the adrenals, that doesn’t work, because the thyroid is in constant contact with the adrenals. None of the endocrine organs work independently. The pituitary controls these organs. The thyroid works with the pancreas, ovaries, and the prostate as well as the adrenals. We also know that when you consider the thyroid, you have to consider liver function because that is where Free T4 gets converted to Free T3. The endocrine system is complex and interconnected, as one endocrine gland affects another.
A Supplement Avalanche
Many people have decided to switch from their thyroid medications to a more natural approach. So they start to take lots supplements in place of their meds. When that doesn’t work either, they shut the supplement cabinet and give up.
But in reality, they never got to the source or the root cause of the problem. The reason that some of us don’t feel like we are getting much benefit from taking supplements is because it may only be one piece of the puzzle.
Think of a game of dominos. Once you hit the first one, all the others start to fall. Once we identify the root causes and start to eliminate them slowly and appropriately, all those secondary symptoms take care of themselves.
As stated previously, if you have adrenal or thyroid issues, the problems or the root causes are “upstream”. You can’t just focus on healing those glands: it will never get you well. Once you deal with the “upstream problems” the adrenals started to heal.
Pieces of the Puzzle
In order to detox metals or any chemicals for that matter, you need to have a healthy gut. In order to have a healthy gut, you can’t have upstream toxins. You must understand that every part of the body is important. The digestive tract it vital to health; the kidneys are important because they hydrate the colon. If you are not hydrated you will be bound up and the toxins will stay inside because you can’t excrete them. Then if the bowels are not moving, the liver gets backed up and that is detrimental too.
The liver is working tirelessly to break down so many toxic substances. When you take an aspirin for instance, and the directions say to take one every 4 hours, it takes the liver that long to break it down. And that is just one chemical to which the liver has to contend! So we must look at the body as a whole, as every organ and gland is interactive and connected.
Erase the Confusion
When you are sick and exhausted it’s impossible to discover the root causes of your health challenges by yourself. You need a guide with years of education and professional experience. When I help people, I do not believe in cookie cutter treatments. I customize everything. Although there are some common things that everyone must do, I look at each patient individually. That is why I say, “Don’t guess, let’s test.” We need to identify the health challenges and then create a game plan. We can present phase one, phase two, etc. long-term goals and how we are going to get there. Then we educate the patient so they don’t have to rely on us all their life It’s really about teaching what you so you can follow through and do it yourself. There’s real freedom in that.
When one is on a healing journey, there are many parts of the body that must be addressed. Whether you have burnt out adrenals or your thyroid is struggling, you must look at the whole picture to understand where to start.
We must be focused on the causes of the problem and not the problem itself. We don’t want to get wrapped up in chasing symptoms. With guidance, once we identify the underlying causes, real healing can take place. As I always say, Be Well, Live Well.